By Roy W. Lowrie, Jr.
The Christian Teacher (1962)
We are all busy with the work of the second semester. With the press of the daily operation of the school, we should not forget the work which must be done right now for next September. Now is the time to step up our procedures for increasing enrollment for next year. Advance registration in May or June is desirable for accurate ordering and planning for September, although late registrations may be accepted. There is not much time before early registration. It is time to recruit new students.
Enrollment and Finance
Very few of our Christian schools are so full that they have a waiting list. Most of us have financial problems of varying intensity. Enrollment is related to finance. Most of our schools get almost all of their money from the parents of their students. An increased enrollment would help with financial difficulties through the added tuition money and by increasing the possibility of gift money from parents since more families would be in the school. To illustrate, one of the most successful Christian schools that I know has about 25 pupils per teacher. Because of the 25:1 ratio, the school has a sound financial base. This school can pay good salaries and does not have the problem of high faculty turnover.
Philosophy and Academic Standards
Our educational philosophy is based on the Christian view of God and the world. In recruiting, we must explain to parents of prospective students that our Christian school exists because there are essential educational objectives, growing out of our view of God and the world, which cannot be gained in any other school, private or public. But we are also academic schools. Most parents who have an awakening interest in the philosophy of Christian education will still make the final decision about enrolling their children on the basis of the academic standards of the school. They will buy a good education based upon Christian philosophy, but they will not buy an inferior education based upon the same Christian philosophy. We must be prepared to answer parents’ questions about our academic standards as well as our spiritual standards.
Understanding Precedes Enrollment
It seems that there are some similarities between student recruitment and evangelism. Each requires information, explanation, patience, perseverance, prayer. Parents need information and an explanation, perhaps many patient explanations, about the Christian school before they are in a strong position to make the important decision about the education of their children. We are at fault if we do not provide good written information and continued personal explanations of the distinctive of the Christian school.
Each school family should be encouraged and trained to recruit new students rather than leaving it all with the principal and the board.
Sometimes parents and staff members who believe in Christian school give the impression that parents who do not agree with us on Christian education should be stamped out, that these parents are disobeying God by not enrolling their children. A sharp word, a disgusted glance, or a condescending manner to an undecided parent, make it very hard, if not impossible, to talk to that parent in the future. We must be patient, consistent, not offensive. Pray. Sometimes it is not easy for parents to decide that the kind of education which they had is not what they want for their own children. Few parents attended private schools and for some the connotation of private school, quite apart from the idea of Christian education, makes their decision difficult.
We are committed to the Christian School. But can we deny that God is using some students, parents, teachers, and administrators in some secular schools? Can we take the blanket position that it is God’s will for all Christian parents to send their children to our school? (If we take this position, where does Christian education stop? Are our graduates who enroll in secular universities out of God’s will?) Perhaps we are hindering what we are trying to build by pressing some arguments to extreme positions which cannot be supported.
Recruiting involves brochures, advertising, church meetings, P.T.A. meetings, radio or television programs, open house, home visitation. It is time to put these items in motion. Progress requires effort, and prayer.
Last updated by Lisa Lanpher Mar 26, 2013.